Home Page >> WORLD 9 September 2015, Wednesday 09:05

BA flight Las Vegas-London catches fire ahead of take off

BA flight Las Vegas-London catches fire ahead of take off A British Airways plane bound for London has caught fire at Las Vegas airport, forcing the evacuation of 172 people on board on emergency slides.
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Airport officials said at least 14 people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

US Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the left engine of the Boeing 777-200 caught fire before take-off.

The plane was seen engulfed in flames and smoke. The fire was later put out.

In a statement, British Airways said the aircraft "experienced a technical issue as it was preparing for take-off".

In a distress call the plane's captain asked for the airport's emergency services: "Speedbird Mayday Mayday. Speedbird 2276 request fire services."

"Speedbird 2276 heavy, we are evacuating on the runway. We have a fire, repeat, we are evacuating," he adds.

The pilot later told passengers that the accident was the result of a "catastrophic failure of the engine", reports the Guardian's Jacob Steinberg, who was onboard the plane.

"We looked out the window and for the first time saw smoke near the wing. We could smell it. It was like burning rubber - bitter and deeply unpleasant - and it was time to panic," Steinberg writes.

An investigation into the blaze is now under way after what was clearly a lucky escape, the BBC's James Cook in Los Angeles reports.

The incident shut one of the airport's four runways for several hours.

McCarran is a major airport in the US, handling more than 40 million passengers last year.

BBC


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